About Sights – Ananuri Fortress
Ananuri (Georgian: ანანური) is a fortress situated on the foreland by the Aragvi River, not far from Zhinvali water reservoir and about 70 km from Tbilisi, Georgia. It was built by the Dukes of Aragvi and its earliest parts date from the 13th century. The fortress is on the UNESCO Tentative list.
The fortress consist of two fortifications joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well-preserved. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.
Within the complex are two churches. The older Church of the Virgin dates from the first half of the 17th century.
The Church of the Virgin
The larger Church of the Assumption (Ghvtismshobeli) was built in 1689 for the son of Duke Bardzem. It has a central dome and richly decorated facades, including a carved north entrance and a carved grapevine cross on the south façade.
The Church of the Assumption
Georgian Script on the south facade of the Church of the Assumption
Carved Grapevine Cross on the south façade of the Church of the Assumption
The Church also contains the remains of a number of frescoes, most of which were destroyed by a fire in the 18th century.
Interior of the Dome of the Church of the Assumption
Interior of the Church
The church is in use and you will see people lighting candles and placing them underneath paintings and icons of saints. Candles can be bought from the kiosk on the left hand side as you enter the church.
By the east wall of the church are several tombstones. Note that the graves of some of the Dukes of Aragvi are not here but in the Church of the Virgin.
Adjacent to the west wall of the church is a tall, narrow watch tower dating from the 13th or 14th century.
The fortress overlooks the Zhinvali reservoir, which provides Tbilisi with drinking and utility water. The views of the reservoir and surrounding mountains are spectacular.
Entrance to the fortress is free. This is a spectacular fortress with amazing views and well worth a visit!